A public hearing about a rezoning application at a property with a history of problem tenants and bylaw enforcement is slated for Monday, March 18 at Courtenay council chambers.
Council has approved second reading of the application for a two-lot subdivision at 2310 20th St. A zoning amendment would permit a secondary suite on each lot.
“From a form and character perspective, the applicant’s design will result in the dwelling being better integrated into the neighbourhood,” a staff report states.
The City expects the applicant — Amandio Santos — to re-design the exterior facade so the new dwelling can front onto Lambert drive.
“The property owner has no interest in being an ongoing landlord and building/renovating for future rental tenure,” a report by consulting engineer H.A. Martyn states. “The intent is to renovate and build for sale as owner-occupied homes.”
Efforts to contact Santos by phone went straight to his voicemail box, which was full.
“There has been a history of bylaw enforcement and police issues at this particular property with some of the rental tenants,” director of development services Ian Buck said at the March 4 council meeting. “Obviously that’s raised some concern in the neighbourhood.”
Last April, Santos hosted a neighbourhood meeting about the application. Seven residents from Lambert Drive attended. According to the report, they were concerned about problems with noise and disturbances associated with tenants. The proponents believe the fastest way to eliminate tenancy problems is to obtain rezoning, and then renovate the house.
Last June, The Record ran an article about some of the neighbours’ concerns and frustrations. A couple near the corner of 20th and Lambert, who had found a discarded hypodermic needle on their lawn, no longer allowed their grandchildren to stay over. Another person said she has had threats on her life.
“I think this is an innovative approach to a challenging situation in that particular neighbourhood,” Coun. Doug Hillian said.
Along with being owner-occupied, Buck said a rezoning would restrict rental leasing and other means of having other tenants in the house. As per a housing agreement, he notes council is able to control a number of features of the units, such as rents and ability to sell properties. Council also has some say over who can occupy.
“That should, in the long-term, alleviate concerns that exist in the neighbourhood,” Buck said.
The public hearing is at 5 p.m.